Gee Atherton and Emmeline Ragot took victory at round two of the British Downhill Series at Fort William on 10-11 May.
Challenging wet conditions on race day didn't deter Atherton, the GT Factory Racing rider taking victory by one-and-a-half seconds from Madison Saracen Factory Team’s Matt Simmonds, with Atherton’s teammate, Marc Beaumont two seconds off Gee’s pace.
With the world cup taking place in four weeks’ time, the start lists were awash with international riders keen to get to grips with the Nevis Range track, with Australian Troy Brosnan the first non-Brit in the elite men’s competition, slotting into fifth place behind Santa Cruz Syndicate’s Josh Bryceland.
Australian Double world champion Sam Hill was seventh, riding for Chain Reaction Nukeproof behind Britain’s Sam Dale.
Round one winner Danny Hart was fastest in qualifying but finished tenth in the race, ten seconds adrift of Atherton.
Following his win, Atherton said: "I love racing at Fort William – it was a long day today and we’re all pretty tired, the track and conditions were wild as ever but I’m well impressed with the way the Fury handled here today – can’t wait to get back here next month."
With Rachel Atherton out due to illness, the elite women’s win went to double world champion Emmeline Ragot, the French rider clocking 5:29.074, beating Manon Carpenter by 3.8 seconds. The two were a class apart, with Ragot’s compatriot Morgane Charre coming in 23 seconds behind the leader.
Tahnee Seagrave was narrowly beaten into fifth by Emilie Siegenthaler, with Fionn Griffiths back in sixth place.
The junior men’s competition was won by Laurie Greenland of Trek World Racing, the talented 17-year-old from Bristol taking the win in 5:11.464 ahead of Drew Carters and Alex Marin Trillo. Greenland was 14 seconds off the pace in qualifying behind a flying Vernon Taylor but turned it around when it mattered.
Round three of the Shimano British Downhill Series takes place in Ae Forest on 31 May to 1 June.